Early college means more than academics to graduating seniors

Published 12:19 pm Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record

Graduating from Davie County Early College High School in 2024 was more than an academic journey.

Much more.

“The last four years have not only been an academic one, but a spiritual one,” Ellen Ramos Mosso said to her fellow graduates during commencement ceremonies on May 21 at the Davie County High School Auditorium. She was speaking about deceased classmate Kevin Alexander Romero-Ruano. “Let us cherish and enjoy the laughter he brought into our lives. His spirit will always be a guiding light in our hearts.”

That theme came through as other students spoke, during the ceremony, and on video – previously recorded messages from each student played on the big screen during the ceremony.

Ashley Holly, academic honors speaker, told fellow graduates it’s time to celebrate.

“We have also forged lifelong friendships and memories that will sustain us,” Ashley said.

“Life is full of twists, surprises and turns and it’s up to us to seize the moment and make the most of every opportunity that comes our way. As we embark on this news adventure called adulthood, let us remember to cherish the moments an savor the memories. When life throws a curve ball, let’s face them head on with courage, resilience … and may a bit of caffeine,” Ashley said.

Logan White was the other academic honors speaker, urging classmates to believe in themselves.

“Many of us have faced struggles,” Logan said. “We have persevered and became closer and more compassionate during all of the chaos.

“Let us not forget the lessons we have learned. In life, no matter what road you take, there are going to be challenges you have to overcome. How you approach it and handle it is the difference between success and failure. Believe in your abilities. Stay true to yourself and your values, and never underestimate your strength,” Logan said.

Brianna Stevenson, a Phoenix Award speaker, was brought to tears as she talked about her family and early college friends.

“We have earned the right to stand here today as graduates,” Brianna said. “Our education is only beginning. Be curious, be attentive, and never stop seeking out new ideas, information and perspectives. The world needs more people driven by passion, not profit.”

Lucas Shoffner, a Phoenix Award speaker, said that his mother showed him during her cancer diagnosis and treatment, how to act.

“You should always stay positive,” Lucas said. “Classmates, we need to do this. Stay strong. Starting this next chapter will be hard for everyone, but we will get through it.”

Mia Carillo Chico was chosen by classmates to speak at the commencement. Davie County Early College High School quickly became home, she said.

“We were all one big family in this home, capable of achieving anything,” Carillo Chico said. “Make it your mission to live out the legacy of this school. Let the world know who you are and turn your fear into power. Let it be known that you are a part of something great … You are a fighter, you are a leader, and you are a part of the Davie County Early College Class of 2024.”

Sam Brown, who took over as principal mid-year, spoke to staff members, families and to the graduates.

The staff shows up every day and gives it their best, he said. “It’s your heart and passion that allows our students to grow to their full potential.”

To parents and family: “Thank you for the love, encouragement, and belief in the young men and women here today.”

And to the graduates, Brown said their path to graduation didn’t happen by accident. It took their commitment and desire to succeed.

“Remember, your words have the power to heal and the power to destroy,” Brown said. “In whatever you pursue, seek to care for people as if they were your own. Success is something unique to you in your own journey.

“You are ready for what comes next. Get out there and make you mark,” Brown said.